NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2020

by | Nov 1, 2020 | NHL | 10 comments

The latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cory Schneider, the updated salary-arbitration list and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace recently reported contract talks between the Blue Jackets and Pierre-Luc Dubois have stalled. The 22-year-old center is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images)

Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, however, isn’t concerned by the lack of progress in contract talks with the Dubois camp. “It’s funny how everyone’s worried about RFAs, because I’m not worried at all,” he said on Tuesday. “They get done when they get done.” He pointed out contract talks for defenseman Zach Werenski weren’t settled until right before training camp last year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen has every reason to be unconcerned. Dubois lacks arbitration rights plus there’s uncertainty over what league revenue will look like over the next couple of years. Those factors alone give the Jackets GM the hammer in contract talks.

The Jackets have over $12 million in cap space so there’s plenty of room for Dubois’ next contract. I think Kekalainen will attempt to get Dubois under a short-term bridge contract with the promise of a bigger payday down the road.

NHL.COM: New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said Friday he’s considering signing Cory Schneider. The goaltender had his contract bought out by the New Jersey Devils, making him an unrestricted free agent. “There’s a good sort of chance of that transpiring,” said Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Oct. 12 the Isles were finalizing a one-year, $700K deal with Schneider. Lamoriello gives nothing away, of course, but LeBrun is a well-respected, well-sourced NHL insider. He probably got that info from someone close to the Isles’ front office or the Schneider camp.

I suspect the Islanders’ limited cap space explains why this hasn’t been finalized yet. They’ve got $8.9 million remaining but Lamoriello must also re-sign RFAs Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock. Once that’s sorted out, the Schneider contract will be probably be finalized.

NHLPA.COM: Only six players of the 26 who filed for arbitration this year are slated for hearings. Carolina’s Warren Foegele’s is on Nov. 4, the New York Rangers’ Ryan Strome on Nov. 5, the Rangers’ Brendan Lemieux and the Islanders’ Ryan Pulock are on Nov. 6, Ottawa’s Christian Jaros is on Nov. 7, and Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar is on Nov. 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only one – Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi – went before an arbiter. There’s a good chance the rest could be settled before their respective hearings.

THE SCORE: Ontario premier Doug Ford said Saturday his government is engaging with the Ontario Hockey League on a safe return-to-play plan for this season that must be confirmed by health experts. “To date no decisions have been made. I would like to see the OHL return as normal as possible with bodychecking.”

Ford’s remarks contradict comments made by Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod on Friday. She stated “prolonged or deliberate contract while playing sports is not permitted” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder if Premier Ford got a phone call from NHL headquarters regarding MacLeod’s comments. The OHL is one of the NHL’s main development leagues. They would probably frown upon their promising prospects being forced to play an entire season without bodychecking.


  1. No body-checking in the OHL? There go all the scoring records!

    • So if Gobberment says no body checking for OHL how can they then say it is OK for NHL ?
      If a 19 year old kid can body check in NHL during his 10 game trial, and then is sent down to OHL he can’t body check ? I would say that rules would have to be the same in OHL & NHL if these are health mandates.

      With these mandates kiss the CFL goodbye

      • (numbers as of October 28th)

        Detroit Red Wings – $15,238,611

        Ottawa Senators – $14,302,501 –

        Nashville Predators – $12,942,190 –

        New Jersey Devils – $17,195,001 –

        Columbus Blue Jackets – $12,900,000 –

        Florida Panthers – $11,563,712 –

        Los Angeles Kings – $13.620,715 –

    • I, as you George, am a firm believer in covid protocols.

      However, I fail to understand the science that accepts incidental contact and close proximity (battling for a puck in the corner) but deems body checking unacceptably risky.

      • The problem with daily briefings, and the rapidity of the ever-changing Covid-19 scene, is that Ministers of Health are constantly reacting publicly to minute-by-minute advice reaching them through medical/science contacts – often at odds with each other – without time to run it by Premiers/Prime Minister who instantly have to deal with indignant reactions from elements of the private sector with vested interests.

        Let’s face it, throughout North America – states, provinces, cities – the anti-pandemic measures being implemented are a dog’s breakfast. For months, here in Canada, Manitoba took a more lenient approach than some other provinces, and now they’re panicking because, suddenly, the province is experiencing positive cases that threaten their hospital capabilities and, in fact, now sport the highest number of cases in the country per capita. Now, draconian measures are being implemented.

        In the U.S. you see the curious spectacle of top-ranked NCAA I games going on without interruption – with scattering of fans in attendance, full body contact of course, and dozens of cheerleaders performing cheek-by-jowl, while the Ivy League says nope – games are postponed.

        There is no such thing as a unified approach in either the U.S. or Canada.

  2. Good morning

    While its fine that the Jackets will use the HAMMER with Dubois right now ..this guys is going to be a star if not all read …you treat him bad now ..he walks come end of his contract next time around…IMO

    He doesn’t NEED to be a Blue Jacket next time around …its not a storied franchise or he has any allegiance to the fan base their

    we have all ready seen big names hitch hike out of there Dubois will be no different after the treat him like crap !


    Most COVID reports have been linked to dressing room interaction…in hockey.
    Body checking is not a factor ..when you have a puck scrum in a corner for a loose puck that lasts over 6 – 10 seconds …what’s the difference ..just don’t play then…while I am an advocate for COVID protection ..this is non sense and probably based more on politics and legal issues than safety UNFORTUNATELY !

    OH ….the OHL would be a perfect league for William Nylander to play in…the no hit league 🙂 LOL

    ..wish all down south of the border a safe Nov 3rd ..I foresee some body checking in the plans there for sure and definitely a few game misconducts and long term suspensions..

    Cheers…. take care

    • Kal, Sorry I didn’t read your post re body checking before I replied to George. With Ford, that makes at least three of us.

      • @ Lj

        All good cheers …agree..

  3. The NHL could have a Leaf friendly year and not ban bodychecking but enforce social distancing instead 🙂

  4. Lyle, was that last sentence erroneous? I assume you meant that the NHL wouldn’t want it’s prospects to go a whole season WITHOUT bodychecks.